Watch schedules

“Whatever you wear, it’s not enough!” was some of the advice we got from the more experienced sailors that had already sailed to Nova Scotia a number of times.

That was certainly good advice and we are quite proud of all our ski-underwear, large collection of hats, gloves etc.

Captain's glove collection
So far, we have been pretty lucky as the weather up here has been much milder than we expected.
However, we still have to cross the Labrador current & Northern Atlantic, so plenty of opportunity to still make good use of our equipment…

The above also had its impact on our watch schedule as it would not have been comfortable or safe for the crew on watch to be out on deck for too long, should conditions have been as cold as we worried about.
The general watch schedule approach is to have a rolling change in watches. There are normally two crew on watch (red) as we always steer manually; so one to steer and one to handle sails etc.
In general we aim for roughly 3 hours on watch (depending on crew size) and then some following time where the still awake crew will be on standby (amber) to help if needed (to prevent waking up others that are deep asleep etc). Where possible, the standby time is scheduled in way that allows the crew to get off watch get settled etc – and to have them wake up their successor. That in turn ensures timely watch changes and deeper sleep for those worried about overhearing their alarm, but also means that we only have one crew on the help for about 30 minutes. That turned out to be a good approach for now.
During the off-time (green) the crew can sleep, relax, cook, repair, clean up or simply enjoy the time on the ocean.
The order of crew members listed is sorted to balance the skillset evenly across all watches (with the captain on stand-by throughout the entire day).
In case the temperatures did drop to as low as we worried about, we would have changed the cold day schedule, where duration of the watch reduces, but the frequency increases.

As quite a few people asked about our watch schedule approach, you can have a look at them yourself below:

Nahant to Halifax:NHT 2 HFX watch schedule

Halifax to Newfoundland:
HFX 2 STJ watch schedule

Newfoundland to Ireland:
STJ 2 IRL watch schedule

Watch Schedule

Now that we have only two weeks left to go, details such as departure time, when and how do we get the perishable food on the boat, how to top of the tanks etc become more relevant.

For watch schedule we’ve had various plan during our prior trip. They were all based on a 3 hr rhythm and always had one watch captain on deck; main differences were around the rotation of people and if all or parts of the crew on watch would be relieved at the same time.
I like the partial change of crew better than a full change as the transition is smoother, there is always someone of the prior watch around to share the knowledge/situation of what went on during the previous watch, plus everyone would overlap with 2 other people and therefore have more variety in sailing buddies.
While it was nice to combine this principle with a  changing crew constellation every 24 hrs to make sure we mixed things up to sail with as many different crew members as possible, we keep things simpler this time. That way we keep the kids (Lauren and Nick will stand watch together throughout the trip) together and have either myself or Corinna sail with them – at least at night, throughout the day will be much more relaxed anyways.

This is the watch schedule for the leg from Nahant to the Azores (watch captains are marked in bold):

2015 Leg 1 watch schedule